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This Is Me This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.


This is me without you.

I am with him. In fact, I am very much with him. I tell him I love him and he tells me he loves me back, but I’m without you, and that’s the main point.

He comes to my car once a week, or once a month, or once in a blue moon, and he kisses me long and hard.

He says, “Will you give me a kiss?”

And I say sure, and I do, but it always leads to more than that, and I’m always unhappy.

I’m always so unhappy.

I’m unhappy with the stench in my car and the feeling of dread in my stomach and the prayer on my lips and the scars on my body. I’m unhappy and he’s unhappy and we are unhappy together.

So, this is me without you.


This is me meeting you.

I am scared when you want to see me, naturally. Of course I’m scared. I’m scared because I’m used to being scared. But, I force myself to come see you anyways. You wrap me up in your arms after a few seconds, and I climb in my car, and I drive away. But, I don’t drive away exactly. I drive... somewhere. Somewhere that is not away.

And then I see you again, and I’m scared, but not as much. The rain is coming down hard, and the lake is cold. You try to push me in, and I find a choking noise deep down in my stomach and spit it out.

And it’s not a cry, and it’s not a scream, and it’s not a gasp.

It’s a laugh.

And then you slip an arm around me and pull me close, and I shiver because I’m cold. You do, too. He had never done that, put his arm around me. He had just touched me without purpose. You have a purpose.

You make me laugh. Smile. Worry. I am everything except unhappy with you.

So, this is me meeting you.


This is me understanding you.

I am with you once a week, now, wrapped up in your arms. You finally kiss me one day, and it’s different from the way he used to kiss me. It is simple and wonderful and I always want to kiss you. When you leave, I want to kiss you. And when you stay, I want to kiss you. And when you are two towns over, I want to kiss you.

I just always want to kiss you.

You come to my car one day, but it is not like when he used to come to my car. It is innocent and quiet and wonderful when you come to my car. We get out and walk and stretch and breathe, something that he and I could never do previously.

Breathing is important. You teach me how to breathe.

We go back to the lake where we began to know each other, where the rain was pouring down hard. We go to parks and sit in the grass by the pond. We go to libraries and kiss, but nobody can see us because we are invisible. We go to each other.

Yes, we go to each other.

So, this is me understanding you.


This is me with you.

I have you. You are mine. I care about you, and you care about me, and we are together. We are happy together, that’s the part that is so odd and wonderful and crazy to me.

We are happy together?

We are happy together.

It’s not a question.

For the first time in life, life isn’t full of questions.

“There’s no such thing as a bad question!” daddy says to Lucy.

But, Lucy knows there is such thing as a bad question. Am I happy? Am I breathing? Am I alive? Those are bad questions, sad questions, angry questions, nonsensical questions.

There is no room for questions in my heart now that I am with you. The only question I have is what time to close my eyes at night so that I can open them in the morning to see you. And, that’s a silly question. It’s a question that isn’t even a question because I’m happy.

Being happy is so weird and fantastic. I love being happy with you.

So, this is me with you.


This is me falling in love with you.

I am whisked away in the beginning, and the middle, and the end. Somewhere along the way I kiss your lips and feel your body and brush your hair. But, as quickly as you come, you are gone again. But, not actually gone. You are here but not here. You are away but not away. You are somewhere near, just not quite here.

I’ll be alright.

It’s odd to know I’ll be alright. I’ve never had that assurance before.

I am smiling even though I can’t touch you for many more days. I smile because I know you are smiling.

When someone else’s happiness is your happiness, that’s love. I am falling into that feeling with you.

How odd, I think.

So, this is me falling in love with you.


This is me in love with you.

I return to the thresholds and the walls and the doors and the ceilings of how life was before I left for a very long time. I am back for good, which means that you are back for good, which means that I am me.

You hold me on the couch and the lights are off, but I can see your eyes looking into mine. And I try to look away because I’m scared like I was months ago when I was beginning to understand you.

Then you smile, and I smile, and my heart pumps clean blood through my body.

“I love you,” you say.

And I think about him and how he used to say those words so blatantly. I liked to believe him back then because I liked to belong to someone with a story like mine. I liked to cry because crying meant I was broken, and being broken was one of the most wonderfully fulfilling emotions that I had even experienced.

I hate him.

I sit in silence, in the dark, with a heart pumping hard and fast and efficiently. I think about the words that rolled off of your tongue and into my body just now.

“I love you, too,” I say.

I love you, too.

I love you so much.

I love you.

So, this is me in love with you.

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